Wednesday, 11 March 2009

It's not fair when the winner takes all in an ocean swim

I have come to accept there are other constants in life apart from death and taxes. One of these is that I will never win a place in my age group in an ocean swim (or even get near it).

I've checked out my peers who, no doubt, will swim until they've got one foot in a watery grave.
They are naturals, born to swim, and they deserve to take away the trophy, towel or other modest age-category prize awarded them by swim organisers.

Then there is a small group of swimmers that competes in the 'elite' category for the big prizes. Some of the larger ocean swims on the Sydney circuit offer lucrative prizes to the elite place getters, such as $1000 or the cost of travel, accommodation and entry to ocean swims in Hawaii, Fiji and Vanuatu.

I don't begrudge these swimmers their just rewards. They train hard and are the best in a highly-talented field.

What riles me me is their double dipping. Several ocean swims in Sydney have recently introduced a 1km swim to augment the 2km event. The shorter swim also comes with a desirable prize pool.

The elite swimmers enter both events and, of course, win both prizes. When interviewed by organisers after the 1km swim, they say "it's a warm up" as they walk away with the jackpot.

I say it's a rip off. If the 1km swim is just a doddle for the elite swimmers to prepare for the main event, I reckon they should donate their prize to an entrant who is not registered as an elite swimmer and who is entered in the 1km swim only.

Ocean swims are touted as community events, but the elite swimmers see them as an opportunity to flout 'the winner takes all' principle (thanks ABBA).

It's not right, it's not fair and it's not the Australian way!
(Photo: Petulant Princess captured in frame at the height of her ocean swimming career in 2007 by

1 comment:

Johnny Rotten said...

There's always an element of competition in ocean swimming, and one of its attractions is the fast swimmers. If they can win two events on the trot, then good on 'em.

In the interests of fairness, there's always the lucky dip prizes - Express Glass Island Challenge had trips to Hawaii and Fiji I think.